Pediatric Plastic and Craniofacial

Hemangioma Newport Beach

HemangiomaHemangiomas are benign growths or tumors that appear soon after birth, usually by 2 to 3 weeks of age. Although they commonly occur in the head and neck region, they can occur anywhere on the body. Most hemangiomas present as single tumors, but 15% of hemangiomas present as multiple growths. The cause of hemangiomas is not yet fully understood, but it is known that they are not typically related to any drugs or medications taken during pregnancy. Rarely, family members over several generations present with hemangiomas, suggesting a genetic predispostion.

The natural course of hemangiomas progresses through three phases: proliferative, involuting, and involuted phases. The proliferative phase is marked by rapid growth in the first 4-6 months, followed by the involuting phase starting at 12 months when the hemangiomas begin to shrink in size. The involuted phase is the third and last phase and occurs when the hemangioma growth has stopped, leaving behind residual fibrofatty tissue. About 50% of all hemangiomas involute by 5 years old, 60% by 6 years old, and 70% by 7 years old.

Since the majority of hemangiomas resolve on their own over time, observation by your pediatrician or plastic surgeon is the recommended treatment. Earlier treatment is warranted in hemangiomas that are bleeding, ulcerated, or compromising the airway or vision. In these cases, immediate medical attention should be obtained. Earlier treatment may also be warranted in hemangiomas that are either growing rapidly or are present on the face and causing psychosocial trauma.

Traditionally, medical treatment for hemangiomas include either using topical or systemic steroids to help arrest hemangioma growth. However, steroids do not cause them to regress. Recently, beta blockers were serendipitously discovered to cause hemangiomas to regress. They are usually started in the hospital under close monitoring for any changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and glucose levels.

Hemangiomas can also be treated surgically through excision of the tumor and closure of the wound in multiple layers by a pediatric plastic surgeon. As a fellowship trained plastic surgeon in both craniofacial and pediatric plastic surgery, Dr. Chen has received additional specialized training in the surgical removal of hemangiomas and aesthetic closure of the wound in pediatric patients.

Please contact us for more information about hemangiomas or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Chen.

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